The Chargers swept their first conference game against Davis & Elkins College on Friday at home, extending their win streak to two games. Hillsdale ranked no. 49 in Wednesday’s NCAA Division II ITA poll.
The win against Davis & Elkins was the Chargers’ first home match after coming off of four on the road. After winning the early doubles point in a close match, the Chargers won four straight singles points, securing a 5 – 0 lead. The game was stopped once Hillsdale clinched the win.
At no. 1 singles, junior Charlie Adams defeated his opponent 6 – 4, 7 – 5. From then on, seniors John Ciraci and Justin Hyman along with junior Michael Szabo had no problem finishing out the match.
Hyman only conceded one point, winning no. 2 doubles 6 – 0, 6 – 1. Ciraci and Szabo beat their opponents at no. 2 and no. 3 singles 6 – 0, 6 – 3 and 6 – 3, 6 – 1, respectively. Szabo improved his winning streak to four matches.
“We just wanted to be aggressive from the start. We wanted to come out firing,” Szabo said. “We took their energy away when we beat them in doubles.”
Freshman Brian Hackman and sophomore Gabe Katz’s matches at no. 5 and no. 6 singles went unfinished.
After Friday’s win, Hillsdale was ranked No. 9 in the Midwest region and No. 45 nationally.
“We have a lot of confidence after spring break because we got nationally ranked,” Hackman said.
Szabo added that a national ranking has always been a goal for the team. “With this ranking, we’re looking at the tournament at the end of the year,” he said. The NCAA men’s tennis tournament features 16 teams in a bracket-style elimination.
The Chargers will face Grand Valley State University Thursday, March 28 and Walsh College Sunday, March 31. The Chargers’ match against Walsh will represent the second in Hillsdale’s conference.
Though the Chargers have struggled against Grand Valley in the past, Szabo said the team is focused on keeping its mentality the same with every match. “Playing there is a little tougher and we want to jump on them early,” he added.
In March 2018, the Chargers lost their match to Grand Valley 6 – 3.
Hackman said he also thought the early game matters the most. “It’s really important, playing a team like Grand Valley, to get the momentum by winning the doubles point,” he said. “That’s something we worked on a lot this week.”
The Chargers will travel for the next three matches until returning home on April 7 to play Kentucky Wesleyan College in another conference match.